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Montpelier Motor Speedway

History

A Bit Of Track History...


View from the outside of turn one- circa 1900

The racetrack at Montpelier Motor Speedway is paved with rich memories and a colorful history.

Early Years


The track at Montpelier, Indiana, may be one of the oldest Midwest raceways still in operation. Beginning in the early 1900's, Montpelier was nationally-known for its fast speeds, colorful drivers and its equally colorful spectators. The raceway was quickly recognized as the "fastest half mile clay track in the country" which is an honor that it held for many years in the harness racing community. The timeline below provides an interesting history of how the track has evolved from half-mile to quarter-mile lengths, auto racing to horse racing to auto racing again, and how the love of racing continues to keep coming back to the Montpelier Community.

Over the years, many changes have taken place. The track was changed to a quarter mile, new grandstands, restrooms and concession areas were added. Even though the race track at Montpelier has changed, some things remain the same. The fast speeds, colorful drivers and equally colorful spectators are still there.

Honored Guests


Montpelier Motor Speedway has seen its share of racing "heavyweights". Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have both raced at Montpelier early in their careers. PJ Jones and Chad Jones, respective son and grandson of Parnelli Jones, was also a driver at Montpelier. The mighty "Kinser" clan have added Montpelier to their list of tracks and we can't forget Al Unser Sr.'s visit to the speedway.

Looking To The Future
Montpelier Motor Speedway in Montpelier, Indiana, has seen many changes in its past and is seen by many to be the future of short-track racing in the Midwest.

Montpelier Motor Speedway, "Indiana's Finest 1/4 Mile Dirt Track" invites you to become a part of its rich and colorful history.

 

Montpelier Race Track Montpelier Speedway Time Line

 

1903 - Adolphus H. Bonham & son, Carl, build a track in its present location.

1909 - Fair & Driving Association build mile track and imported dirt from Kentucky to replace the Indiana clay. A baseball field was established in the infield.

1916 - A cyclone rips through Montpelier & destroys the grandstand and horse barns. At this point the Association goes into bankruptcy. The land was then used for farming and planting corn.

1926 - Hal Kelly bought the Fairgrounds and rebuilt the Grandstand and barns. The mile track was re-laid out and restored.
During the depression years, horse racing interest slowed and remained so until the beginning of WW2.

1941 - WW2, Racing stops nationwide for the most part.

1945 - Racing resumes on a limited scale at wars end.

1952 - Auto racing comes to Montpelier on the mile track.

1959 - Car racing interest had declined in the Montpelier area and was replaced by horse racing once again. The former Mayor of Portland, Ted Montgomery, bought the track and brought it to its zenith with large crowds. In 1961 a three day event was held with additional tents brought in for horse housing due to the number of entrants.

1969 - The Grandstand is destroyed by storms and is never rebuilt for horse racing.

1970 - The last harness race meet is staged.

1973 - Quarter horse interest group buys Fairgrounds and use it for housing their animals.
 

****** For a period of fifteen years the track is not used and falls into a neglected state.

1985 - A local group of businessmen from Montpelier form a corporation and try to rebuild the track. They were successful in getting a few horses into the barns to train at the track.

1986 - Auto racing had again proven itself to be gaining in popularity nationwide and at this point the current mile track was established on the infield. The Racing program was changed from Sunday afternoons to Saturday evenings.

 

Thanks to the Montpelier Historical Society for all their help and valuable information!

 

 

Montpelier Motor Speedway - 700 South Jefferson Street - Montpelier, Indiana 47359

Owners & Promoters - Harold & Lori Hunter

Track Phone 765-728-8210

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